The Patriots drafted Matt Cassel in the seventh round (230th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2-inch, 222-pound quarterback backed up two Heisman Trophy winners at Southern Cal in Carson Palmer, now of the Cincinnati Bengals, and current USC signal caller Matt Leinart. The California native was impressive in training camp and shined in his first preseason contest by completing 13 of 21 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. Cassel saw significant action on January 1, 2006 against the Miami Dolphins where he completed 11 of 20 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, registering a 116.2 quarterback rating. Cassel sat down with us to look at his life both on and off the football field.
What is your favorite appetizer before a big meal? Calamari.
What was your favorite video game growing up? Super Mario Brothers. I was pretty good. I knew all the secret levels.
What was your favorite hobby as a kid? I collected baseball and football cards. My most valuable was probably a Mark McGwire rookie card.
What is your favorite vehicle that you have ever owned? The only vehicle I have ever owned is the Nissan Xterra I'm driving around now. It's my brother's car and he let me use it when I came out here. I never had a car in high school or college.
What is your favorite Pete Carroll moment? The first day he came and spoke with the team. He put a video on that captured all the great USC athletes of our time. It showed them in the moment. He played it to Aerosmith's song "Dream On" and then he spoke to the team about intensity and what he expected of the program. Right away you knew there was something special about him.
What is your favorite material possession? My shoes. I have to wear them every day. I need something that is comfortable, but at the same time looks good.
OFF THE FIELD
If you could play another professional sport, what would it be? Baseball. It's a great sport and I have always played it since I was young.
What is one thing you wish you were better at? Golf. Everybody wishes they were better at golf. I would consider myself average to below average on most days.
What has been the biggest transition to living in New England? The weather. Also the fact that I went from one side of the country to the other. I was moving away from family and friends.
Who is the best-dressed player on the team? Rosevelt Colvin, by far. He is always sharp. He has all the oils and ointments. You would think he ran a beauty salon.
What is something that annoys you? Standing in long lines, like at the grocery store or the DMV.
You were a hit at Larry Izzo's karaoke event.Where did you learn how to sing and dance like that? I have never learned to sing and I still to this day will never be able to. I'm all about showmanship to cover up my bad voice. I learned my dance steps from New Kids On the Block tapes.
What was the worst job you ever had? My first job stocking the inventory at the shoe store Finish Line.
Describe the lifestyle of a quarterback at Southern Cal? It was a great life. It is a high profile position and it comes with a lot of pressure. It was a great experience. All the quarterbacks were a tight-knit group.
You were a pitcher on the USC baseball team for a season. What was your "out" pitch? If they didn't hit it out. I would have to say my fastball was my "go-to" pitch.
You play backgammon with fellow rookie Logan Mankins. Who is the better player? He's gotten too good. He's better. He has been practicing and now he's like a professional backgammon player.
ON THE FIELD
What is the toughest thing about the NFL that most people wouldn't know? The misconception that it is not as mental as it is. It is very intense and difficult when it comes to preparing.
In your mind, what makes a great teammate? Somebody who is supportive and somebody who has your back. Individuals that go out of their way to make you a better player.
You played tight end at USC during your junior year. Could you suit up at the position in the NFL? If they asked me to. If it helped me keep my job.
How much have you learned from Tom Brady and Doug Flutie about playing quarterback in the NFL? I have learned more in these last six months being here than I have learned in my entire life playing football. It's amazing to see the time and the effort those guys put in.They have been great to learn from.
THIS OR THAT
College Football BCS or playoff format? Playoff. I think you take the top four teams or the top eight. You can still have all the bowl games. But it will never happen.
Championship Game starting quarterback: Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart? Carson for the first quarter, Matt for the second quarter and me for the second half.
Blackjack or poker? Poker. I lose too much at blackjack. Eva Longoria or Jessica Simpson? Eva Longoria. I have a thing for brunettes.
Use the phone or drop an e-mail? Use the phone because it is more personal.
Dine in or eat out? Eat out. Macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the only things you are going to get from me.
JUST FOR FUN
If you had a free one-way plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? California. I have to be where my roots are.
If you could only invite three celebrities to a party, who would they be? Bill Clinton would be very interesting to talk to. Eva Longoria to spice things up. Troy Aikman would be awesome to talk to as well.
Name the perfect golf foursome? TigerWoods and Phil Mickelson can play together. I would definitely bring along Tom Brady because he can play and I can't. I would like to sit there and watch the whole thing unfold.
If you could set up one of your teammates on the MTV show Punk'd, who would you pick? Tom Brady without a doubt. If Ashton wants to call me, we can come up with something.